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May 19, 2003

City prepares to battle County over
I-39 overpass repair

Monday, May 19, 2003 Posted 9:30 p.m.
The Economic Development Committee received an update from City Administrator Trent Smith on the County's proposal to repair the I-39 overpass at the Carolyn Development. The County wants to close down the overpass for up to 2 months to save cost on the repair of the ramps which are deteriorating. The city attorney has advised, legally, there is nothing that can be done to stop the closure, that it is strictly a political issue.

Representative Keith Sommer and Senator Dan Rutherford have been contacted and are investigating the situation. Representative Sommer agrees that the County should not be allowed to close the interchange despite the extra cost. This would put undue hardship on the Carolyn area businesses (to the pont of possible bankruptcy) as well as the other businesses in town.

Paul Vallow indicated that closure of the interchange would drastically affect the public safety services of fire and ambulance. City Administrator Smith will be keeping in touch with Senator Rutherford and Representative Sommer and will also contact IDOT to voice the concerns from the City of Minonk as well as determining if an injunction can be sought against Woodford County.

City dads look into cop car ads

The Minonk City Council approved a motion to allow Chief of Police Bill Butler to apply for receiving free police cars from Government Acquisitions. The company sells advertising for police cars, purchases the vehicles and then leases them to police departments for $1 for three years. Butler said that no alcohol or tobacco products can be advertised. Basically, Government Acquisitions would offer the city an option to lease a police car with a predefined advertisement. The city can either accept or reject the offer of an advertisement on a car. The Woodford County Sheriff's department is also considering acquiring police cars with ads from Government Acquisitions.

Butler said that no police department in Illinois has yet received a free car and there is no guarantee when a car will be delivered, if ever. Applying for a car does not guarantee a delivery. Butler added that the city must pay the insurance on the car. He said that the city does need another police car. City Administrator Trent Smith said that the city has budgeted $7,500 this year towards a new car. There is $4,500 budgeted from last year. Hopefully, enough can be budgeted next year to enable a new car to be bought next year.

Alderman Bill Koos said that putting ads on a police car is a bad idea reducing a police car to the level of a television set. Koos added that with the advertisement on the car, it would stick out like a sore thumb.

The council approved a motion by Russell Ruestman to pursue with the application for the police cars with Aldermen Koos and Matt Fink voting against the measure.

SMF granted loan

The council passed a motion by Alderman Bill Koos to approve a $30,000 loan to SMF from the revolving loan fund. The fund has available $60,000 for low interest loans to small businesses. The loan has already been approved by the County. SMF representatives said that SMF is an important part of the community and the loan will help them pay off previous loans to the bank and help them to fund expansion. The loan will run for seven years at an interest rate of 4%.

Westside Park Pavilion Committee Meeting

The Westside Park Pavilion Committee met Wednesday, May 13, at City Hall with union representatives to formulate a plan for building the proposed pavilion. David McBride from the Labor's Local 996 met with committee members and expressed his willingness to provide free union labor to help build the pavilion. Rich Beschorner from the Plumbers Union also expressed the intent of his local to provide free labor.

The committee decided to get cost estimates for materials from various suppliers in the area in order to come up with an estimated material cost for building the pavilion. The next meeting will be held on May 21 at 6:30 p.m. at St. Paul's Church to review the cost estimates.

Council approves donation drive for diabetes

The city council approved a request by Laborers' Local 996 to solicit donations during Father's Day weekend for the benefit of the Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine in Florida.

The donation drive will be held on June 14 at the four-way stop in the center of Main Street.

In other news, Alderman Ron Redenius said that the Minonk Food Pantry budget is being cut by $1300 by the state for next year. He said the city may have to provide some more money to the Food Pantry to help keep it going.

City Administrator's Report

City Administrator Trent Smith said that the Tenth Street Sewer Line replacement has been completed. Rather than replacing the entire line, the public works department repaired only the collapsed area (17 feet). The Millenia Committee plans have changed so that they will not be building over the line as originally planned. Therefore, the remaining line may be repaired at any time as needed.

The next public works project is to solve the water backup problem at the corner of Fourth and Locust. An attempt will be made to clean the lines first by using a newly purchased root cutter attachment on the jetter truck. If that fails, the lines will be dug up and replaced.

The wiring for the four lights at the Westside basketball court has been completed. As his schedule permits, Brian Kirkton will have the lights operational including a timer that will shut off the lights at 11:00 p.m. This time can be changed.

The yearly audit will be wrapping up on Tuesday as far as the site visit is concerned. The auditors should be able to present the council with the final figures in June.